Black Ink, Duct Tape, Ice, and Overbooking

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by librarian, Aug 1, 2010.

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  1. Aug 1, 2010 #1

    librarian

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    librarian

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    I just returned from a round trip from Pittsburgh to Salt Lake City via the Capitol Ltd., and the California Zephyr; and I wanted to share information on four topics in recent discussion on the Forum.

    Black Ink is indeed a requirement for signing in the Dining Car, as when I used my own pen, I was asked three times on both the CL and CZ "whether that is black ink." When I inquired, I didn't receive an answer to the "black ink" issue, but there is apparently tighter inventory controls in the dining car, as more attention is paid to the slips, and when someone at my table ordered bacon on a sandwich, and they were out-of-bacon, there was extensive discussion of "how to remove the bacon from the slip" so it wouldn't foul up inventory.

    I used more duct tape on this trip than in recent memory. The closet door and sleeper door needed pieces, and the room vent needed help with an added newspaper strip on various roomettes. Of course, your neighbor always wants to "use some" once they see you do it.

    Ice was completely gone from the sleepers on CL and CZ. The car attendant seemed to go to the dining car whenever ice was requested, and a container for transport always seemed to be an issue. Add to the duct tape a box of zip-lock large bags, or something to offer the attendant for transport.

    The word "overbooked" was used twice by the Conductor over the PA system, and coach passengers were seated in both the Lounge and Dining Car temporarily. Stern announcements about "keep your belongings off the seat next to you" were common, as well as sterner warnings about the same in the Lounge Car. These two Amtrak trains were packed, at least the last week of July.

    All things considered, it was a great trip and all Amtrak staff were generally pleasant.

    I forgot -- the CL was HELD for 90 minutes plus in Chicago on July 30 for 57 transfers from the CZ. Sleeping car passengers in Chicago were boarded on the CL at normal time for dinner. All this made 57 people happy, but upset those who had to sit and wait. A little of the time was made up by Pittsburgh, but D.C. was likely late.
     
  2. Aug 2, 2010 #2

    MikeM

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    You know, maybe we should all purchase some of these shirts for our future Amtrak trips, at least until the new cars and refurbishments get more traction.

    But it could have been worse. Last summer, my Son and I took the SWC to LA, and the zipper on our suitcase gave way 30 minutes before arrival in LA. The car attendant graciously loaned me his roll of tape, and I was able to tape my suitcase closed. Never underrate the importance of duct tape to train travel!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2010
  3. Aug 2, 2010 #3

    amamba

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    amamba

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    I wonder if they were really overbooked or if something else happened that caused extra pax to be on the train. Just curious. Maybe amtrak is actually starting to overbook on purpose like the airlines? anyone know anything else about this? have others seen this recently?

    I have been on many "sold-out" trains before (according to conductor) but have never heard an actual conductor or amtrak official state that a train is "overbooked".
     
  4. Aug 2, 2010 #4

    MrFSS

    MrFSS

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    The one time I rode the Texas Eagle was from CHI to Blooming, IL, only several hours of a trip.

    I was in coach and supposed to be in the St Louis extra coach car. That day it was bad ordered, so many of us found there were no extra seats in the other coaches. They put us in the SSL and I rode all the way to Bloomington in that car as did others all the way to St Louis.
     
  5. Aug 2, 2010 #5

    lthanlon

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    I'm bringing along gaffer's tape anyway on my SWC trip in three weeks, to seal an often leak-prone Holga camera. Has anybody used this instead of duct tape? Space is at a premium and I don't want to pack anything more than I need.
     
  6. Aug 2, 2010 #6

    Rail Freak

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    I'm a Gorilla Tape fan!!!
     
  7. Aug 2, 2010 #7

    Ryan

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    Gaffer's tape should work just fine.
     
  8. Aug 3, 2010 #8

    AlanB

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    Provided that one doesn't make a gafe and put it in the wrong place. :lol:
     
  9. Aug 3, 2010 #9

    Meat Puppet

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    Gaffer tape is superior to duct tape it doesnt leave residue. I actually had a few sca's borrow some and ask me what kind of tape it was. I usally wrap about 5 feet around a pencil and bring that instead of lugging a big roll.
     
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  10. Aug 3, 2010 #10

    PetalumaLoco

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    We were on the same route, different day. The CZ left EMY on the 30th, an hour late as the entire dining car staff including the LSA, and the lounge attendant, were caught in a traffic accident in the van on the way to board the train. Minor injuries, but they all missed the train. We had no dining car staff until that evening in Reno, they flew people in from LA and Seattle. Normal meals resumed the next morning. As we started late, you know things tend to snowball from there, and we were late approaching Chicago. We had a bedroom booked on the CL. Wish we had read this post at that time. Long story short, they held the CL about 90 minutes for us. They had a customer relations rep board at Galesburg, I think. Poor guy was sweating blood, there were at least 60 people wanting to make that connection.

    But Amtrak came thru, we're happy campers. More details to follow in a few weeks when our trip is complete.
     
  11. Aug 3, 2010 #11

    Guest

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    Guest

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    Overbooked on Amtrak- You're sitting in the lounge or dining car talking to others while leaving town on the train.

    Overbooked on an airline- You're sitting in the airport terminal talking to yourself while watching your plane take off.
     
  12. Aug 4, 2010 #12

    Nickrapak

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    Seal up light leaks? On a Holga? But the leaks give it character!

    ..But yeah, gaffers tape will be fine.
     
  13. Aug 4, 2010 #13

    lthanlon

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    Yes, indeed! :lol:
     
  14. Aug 4, 2010 #14

    GG-1

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    The Head Electrician/Lighting Director in Movies is the "Gaffer". The Tape is a higher quality than "Duck Tape", comes in colors 8, I seem to remember, and solves so many things that I must use 50 roles a year, on Stage. Heck I remember one Electrician repaired his pants on some show. :rolleyes:
     
  15. Aug 4, 2010 #15

    spacecadet

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    spacecadet

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    On the other hand, on an airline you end up getting a voucher worth more than the cost of your original ticket. And the airlines always ask for volunteers to stay off the plane, which it sounds like Amtrak does not. I know people who will actually hope that their flights are overbooked, because they've gotten a lot of free trips that way.

    I'd much rather be given the choice to either get on (and go to my assigned accommodations) or stay off and get either an upgrade or a voucher for another, more expensive trip, than to be forced to get on and sit in the lounge car like a hobo, without any real "home base" on the train.

    by the way, I am saying this from experience... I had the unfortunate experience of riding an unreserved NEC train that was "overbooked" to the point that even the lounge car was overfilled. (Actually I think this might have been one of the original all-coach Amcafes, so there was really nowhere free to sit in it anyway.) I had to sit on the floor of the food service area most of the way to Boston, along with about a dozen other people. Not fun. These trains were just sold like commuter trains in those days, so if you didn't get a seat, too bad. I hope we're not backsliding back to that situation now.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 4, 2010
  16. Aug 4, 2010 #16

    supergrandmother

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    You dont' always get the voucher. I had an issue with D#### last time I flew; wound up being put up in a hotel over night in a city that was just a 3 hour drive from my home and leaving on the plane the next day at mid-morning. I was a full 24 hours late getting home; was promised a voucher which never came even after numerous phone calls and letters. No, I'd rather be on my way in the lounge than in a hotel sleeping in the clothes I had on because they wouldn't give me my checked luggage and voucher-less. That trip was the last straw for me-late on both ends of the trip. I will only fly now if it is an absolute necessity. :wacko:
     
  17. Aug 4, 2010 #17

    Guest

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    Guest

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    I am assuming you were involuntarily denied boarding? If that is the case you got screwed and it was probably because you didn't know your rights and they could see right through you. Either that or while they were going put you down as IDB, you agreed to something vague that put you in the volunteer category.
     
  18. Aug 4, 2010 #18

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

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    I didn't know Gorillas could tape?[​IMG] I heard of elephants painting, but I never heard of a gorilla taping![​IMG]
     
  19. Aug 4, 2010 #19

    amamba

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    This can - and does - still happen on NEC trains. They do sell commuter tickets that can be used on NEC regional trains between two points without a reservation any day of the week. Especially around the holidays the NEC trains get a little crazy and people are often sitting - or standing - in the aisles or any place they can find.

    I would rather be denied boarding on a plane and get a voucher and a place to sit (in the gate at least) than stand for many hours on an NEC regional train.
     
  20. Aug 5, 2010 #20

    zephyr17

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    I have fond memories of gaffer's tape during my college days as a Theater major doing lighting design, working crew on various productions, and paid work for outside productions using our facilities. Have been out of that for a long time, where can you get it these days?
     
  21. Aug 5, 2010 #21

    lthanlon

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    I buy gaffer's tape on Amazon.
     
  22. Aug 5, 2010 #22
    The use of commuter use tickets on NEC trains during holidays seems odd. On the Pacific Surfliners, Metrolink monthly pass holders and other pass holders (Amtrak 10-ticket and monthly pass holders) cannot use them during the holiday periods, esp. T-giving and Xmas.

    And the Surfliner, which normally is unreserved, goes all-reserved during those holiday periods.

    Still, on almost all Friday afternoons out of San Diego and Los Angeles, the trains are usually packed and people often sit in the aisles or vestibules until commuters start to clear out after a station or two. The lounge seating on the Surfliners is so tiny that seating there isn't much of an alternative.

    (Now if it was the Surfliner this month running with the dome car, being forced to sit on the second level for two-hours plus wouldn't be so bad!)
     
  23. Aug 5, 2010 #23

    GG-1

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    Almost all of the suppliers you used to use have it. Rosebrand and Permacel(?spelling) sell in high enough volume to keep the prices low. I've seen price a price range of about 6 to 25 dollars with the colors slightly higher
     
  24. Aug 5, 2010 #24

    amamba

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    How do they block out the holiday periods for the monthly pass holders? Don't people still need to go to work the day before Thanksgiving, the week of Christmas, etc? Just curious how this works.

    Technically I think the monthly pass holders are supposed to give up their seats to those with reserved tickets if this were to occur.
     
  25. Aug 5, 2010 #25
    Sorry about that. The Amtrak pass holders can still use them during the holiday periods. Ten-ticket pack holders cannot use the tickets. Metrolink monthly pass holders are restricted to Metrolink trains. (Normally they can ride both Metrolink and Amtrak trains between Los Angeles and Oceanside.)
     

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